The aetiology and pathogenesis of heterotopic ossification (HO) are still obscure. We evaluated the impact of necrotic gluteus minimus muscle (GMM) debridement on the formation of HO after operative treatment of posterior wall (PW) and associated transverse-posterior wall acetabular fracture (Tr/PW) fixations utilizing a Kocher-Langenbeck surgical exposure.

Thirty-one consecutive patients with displaced PW or associated Tr/PW acetabular fracture-dislocations were operatively treated by a single surgeon using a Kocher-Langenbeck surgical exposure. Strict soft tissue technique was observed and self-retaining retractors were not used. Necrotic GMM was debrided in an attempt to diminish ectopic bone formation.

Twenty-nine patients were available for post-operative clinical and radiographic evaluations. HO occurred in 12 patients. Significant HO (Brooker class III or IV) was noted in only three patients (10%). There were no complications associated with debridement of necrotic GMM.

Necrotic GMM resection diminishes HO formation comparably to other reported series in which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications were used. Resection of the necrotic GMM from the zone of injury has proved to be an efficient and safe method of preventing significant HO in patients after operative fixation of PW and associated Tr/PW acetabular fractures treated through a Kocher-Langenbeck approach.